Sightseeing vessel grounded in Glacier Bay, 76 rescued

The 79-foot sightseeing vessel Baranof Wind struck a rock in Glacier Bay, Alaska and began taking on water yesterday. The Coast Guard, National Park Service, and the Holland America Line cruise vessel Volendam responded to the scene and rescued the 76 passengers. The passengers are believed to have been on an eight-hour cruise aboard the high-speed catamaran which can accommodate up to 149 people. Glacier Bay, at the northern end of southeastern Alaska’s Inside Passage, is a major tourist destination known for its spectacular scenery and marine life.

The Volendam crew transferred 70 people from the Baranof Wind to their vessel, two people were taken aboard a National Park Service boat and four crewmembers remained aboard the Baranof Wind to maintain pumps and to ensure it stays afloat. The Coast Guard launched an Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew with a dewatering pump and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Anacapa to assist the Baranof Wind crew. Coast Guard Sector Juneau is sending response personnel to investigate the cause of the grounding and pollution potential. They are also working with Allen Marine to develop a towing plan to deliver the Baranof Wind to Sitka, Alaska.

None of the passengers were seriously hurt, though reports state that two were treated for minor injuries. The crew of the Volendam will transport the Baranof Wind’s passengers to Bartlett Cove where they will be transferred to another Allen Marine vessel and returned to Juneau.